Genre Spotlight: Electronic Dance Music


Niamh Kitson (she/her) discusses EDM’s continuing popularity in 2023

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By Niamh Kitson

After Fred again.. and Nia Archives secured 2nd and 3rd place respectively on the Radio 1 Sound of 2023 at the end of last year, it was clear that the trend of increased popularity for a whole range of EDM genres in the UK would continue into 2023.

Certainly, both Fred Again.. and Nia Archives have surged in popularity. 30-year-old Fred Gibson has been gaining momentum for some time, writing and producing for a whole range of artists, including Ed Sheeran and Stormzy. However, it was his viral July 2022 Boiler Room set which catapulted him to success as an artist in his own right. Impressively, this year he has achieved feats such as closing Coachella 2023 with Skrillex and Fourtet – two mega DJs who he has worked closely with this year – and he has earned nominations for four awards at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards as well. Closer to home, he has recently been announced as a headliner for Reading and Leeds Festival 2024.

Jungle icon Nia Archives’ sell out show on 8 December at The Warehouse Project epitomised all that has been successful in the UK’s EDM scene this year. The Warehouse Project ranked ninth in DJ Mag’s Top 100 clubs of 2023 and was not the only UK venue to secure a place in the top ten, with Printworks London taking second place. Clearly there is a massive audience of people who want to be able to watch their favourite DJs live, as shown by the success of these two venues as well as the continuing success of festivals such as Boomtown Fair and Creamfields (which has already sold out for August bank holiday weekend 2024).

With most people having access to music streaming services, EDM is more accessible to listeners as well as aspiring DJs and producers now more than ever. Bath-born PinkPantheress has utilised TikTok to rise to fame, combining different EDM genres such as drum and bass, jungle and UK garage, but also bedroom pop and hyper pop. In November, she released her debut studio album, Heaven Knows, featuring ‘Boys a Liar Pt.2’ with American rapper Ice Spice

Her global success demonstrates how UK EDM is not only popular here now, but all around the world. Similarly, other British producers and DJs have also grown their audience through TikTok. Sammy Virji shared a video of his performance featuring a UK garage dub of Unknown T’s 'Goodums’. Since its upload in September, the video has received over a million views.

It would be impossible to talk about EDM and, in particular, drum and bass music this year without mentioning the mega-single ‘Baddadan’ by pioneers of the genre Chase and Status and popular producer Bou, alongside a collection of vocalists and rappers. Peaking at number five in the charts, the mainstream success of this single exemplifies drum and bass’ appeal to a larger audience this year. It has also been a staple in DJ sets since its release in August, emphasised by the TikTok trend of people counting how many times they heard ‘Baddadan’ played over the weekend during festival season. Despite now being a successful genre around the world, 2023 firmly reinforced why the UK is still the home of drum and bass.

It is undeniable that the Covid-19 pandemic reinforced how important dancing and EDM is, especially in the UK as the birthplace of different EDM sub-genres. With producers and DJs being able to advertise their music and events and reach larger audiences through social media, this trend of increasing popularity for EDM is sure to continue into 2024 and beyond.